Steve Peckham and Katie Boylan moved from Chicago to Edina seven years ago. They ended up purchasing the first home they toured because it provided most everything on their wish list. This Sunnyslope neighborhood home built in 1948 provided the Peckham family access to great schools and an easy commute to downtown Minneapolis. It’s also situated on a large wooded hillside with lots of privacy and beautiful backyard gardens that were well maintained by the previous homeowners. “We fell in love with the house right away,” Peckham says.
But the couple knew they’d eventually want to make some changes to the home to reflect their personal style and family life. “We’d been saving our pennies and keeping an eye on [home] projects around the neighborhood and city,” Boylan says. As it turns out, some of the builder signs they’d noticed around town were for MA Peterson—and owner Mark Peterson happens to also live in the neighborhood. “I’ve driven down that street since 1987,” Peterson says, “and have hoped to work on that home one day. I could see it had lots of hidden potential.”
Peckham and Boylan say they connected with Peterson right away. “He’s a good listener with a creative spirit,” Boylan says. During their meetings, the homeowners explained to Peterson that they’d like a more open entryway with a double door, an updated exterior and an upstairs bathroom and laundry room. Peterson set to work drawing up plans to update the home’s boxy exterior in a way that would enhance its curb appeal while expanding the entryway and adding the upstairs bathroom and laundry facilities. “Our process is user-friendly,” Peterson says. “We do a lot of sketching so you can see very quickly what the options are, and have lots of tools to show what [a project] is going to look like” so homeowners can know what they’re buying and feel confident.”
For this particular project, Peterson notes that some very simple changes provided very dramatic effects. The home now has lots of visual interest both in materials and the shape of the roofline. The new natural stone facade creates a real sense of entry to the home. Incorporating harmonizing masonry into the new landscape installed by Tabor Group Landscape creates continuity from the walkway to the elegant front door.
But, similar to renovation projects you see on home and garden television shows, there was a hiccup along the way. The home’s front steps were to be removed as part of the initial demolition process. Once the steps were removed, it became obvious that water had been seeping through and pooling under the steps and into a basement exercise room. The project manager informed the homeowners of the discovery, saying he hates to start a project that way, but that the options were to re-create the exercise room or simply repair the water damage. The homeowners decided to move forward with the additional expense of a renovated lower-level exercise room. Even though the new exercise room was not part of the original plan, Peckham says the space completely met with
“Otherwise, the dust and dirt with any project can be challenging,” Peckham says. “But [the crew] made a point to work around us and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. They showed lots of kindness to our children and were pleasant to have around.”
Peckham did some of the demolition work himself to save money. He peeled off much of the old façade and admits it was a lot of work. But, he says, “as they started to build out the new façade, it was awesome to see that come to life with new peaks and giant windows and the stone I’d always wanted.”
Boylan’s favorite part of the renovation is the laundry room. What Peckham likes best about the finished project is driving up to their new home every night. It’s funny, but as a neighbor, Peterson echoes Peckham. He says, “now when I drive by, I see something that fits and enhances not only their home but the entire neighborhood.”
Advice from home owners:
Homeowners will encounter lots of people during a remodeling project. Two are critical: The creative lead and the project manager. Mark Peterson is a terrific creative, and our project manager Keith Jones is a super-nice guy who always had our family’s needs in mind. He kept us apprised of what was going to happen along the way. Surprises come up, but he made it as smooth as possible.
Decisions needed to be made along the way regarding the front door, cabinetry, etc. It was a busy time at work and this decision-making seemed unduly stressful. In the future, I’d prefer to begin thinking through a lot of those decisions during the drawing stage instead of running over to look at a door during lunch.